Quit tilapia for grouper, Chinese feed industry advises farmers

Published on
November 16, 2016

In a move that could have long-term impact on the global supply of tilapia, one of China’s leading feed companies is encouraging producers of tilapia and other lower-value species to shift their production to the higher-priced grouper species. 

The large-scale Da Bei Nong Group is inviting aquaculture firms and farmers to a China Grouper Breeding & Cultivation Forum scheduled for December 1-3 in the south coast city of Xiamen. The forum, co-sponsored by Da Bei Nong, is being co-organized by Xiamen University and Fujian Ocean and Fisheries Bureau, as well as the Xiamen Jin Tai Group. Also involved in the forum are Jin Bei Er (Fujian) Aqua Environmental Engineering Co. and Fujian Yue Hai Feed Co.

Grouper is a much more high-value proposition than tilapia, noted Professor Lin Hao Ran at the Zhong Shan University in Guangzhou, who plans to attend the forum. Nonetheless, tilapia reigns supreme in the make-up of southern China’s seafood exports.

In the first eight months of 2016, the island province of Hainan, one of China’s top three tilapia producing regions , exported 84,000 tons of seafood, up 6.4 percent year-on-year. Tilapia accounted for 71,000 tons of that figure. Exports were worth CNY 1.9 billion (USD 276 million, EUR 258 million), up 6.1 percent on the same period last year, with tilapia accounting for CNY 1.2 billion (USD 163 million, EUR 163 million) of the figure. The top market for Hainan tilapia, the U.S.A., accounted for 29,000 tons, up 1.8 percent.

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